A Medieval Land Settlement Program – the Carolingian Aprisio Revisited

08 Aug

In Jonathan Jarrett’s recent EME article, “Settling the kings’ lands: aprisio in Catalonia in perspective,” 1 Dr. Jarrett takes issue with what the scholarly community has to date accepted as characteristics of aprisio. 2

As I mentioned in the comment section of my Carolingian Lay Literacy post, what I knew of aprisio two weeks ago could have been written on the back of a book of matches. I simply thought it was a strategy the Carolingians used to encourage people to settle in underpopulated areas. I had no idea how it worked, what kind of benefits settlers would have – I didn’t even think about it being royal lands (though I hope I’d have been able to figure that one out if I’d given it any thought – be tough for even Charlemagne to get away with settling folks on someone else’s lands). If you’d asked me to sum up aprisio in one statement I’d have likely muttered something about it being similar to The American Homestead Act and shut up fairly quickly.

So Dr. Jarrett’s article was very informative for me, and once I started going through it I knew that in order to blog about it, I’d have to read a 2002 article from Cullen Chandler as well. 3 I don’t know the history behind it but Dr. Jarrett and Dr. Chandler have agreed to become friendly enemies, or respectful rivals – or something. They disagree with each other on things, then have a meal together when they meet at a conference. I hope we all have the pleasure of seeing them argue about medieval issues for the next 30-40 years. 4

In short, aprisio evolved in the aftermath of Charlemagne’s Spanish expedition of 778. The expedition has been viewed as a failure historically and I suppose by Charlemagne’s standards it was, but it did yield some benefits. One was the inspiration for the Song of Roland. While the King would never appreciate that, he seems to have placed some importance on the territories in Northern Spain that he gained, a large portion of what is now Catalonia. Much of the region was underpopulated, basically wasteland, and Charlemagne initiated aprisio grants where settlers would clear the land and bring it to productivity and he would allow them to hold it. The use of this term is unknown outside of what is today Catalonia.

This is where we reach the point of disagreement discussed in this article. Overall, what Jarrett believes is that aprisio, as an overall practice, should not be considered more than a general term used for clearance of land and settlement. In essence, he believes that aprisio did not include certain characteristics attributed to it and, even when these characteristics are found, they are not nearly as universal as historians have believed. 5

Among these characteristics which Jarrett challenges are that aprisio was; always accompanied by extensive privileges; in any way tied to the Visigothic thirty-year rule of law; awarded largely to Hispani 6; created and used for military purposes to counter the influence of distant and independent counts and; exclusively the prerogative of the Frankish King.

As I expected, based on the quality of his blog posts, Jarrett proceeds with his arguments through a detailed examination of the source materials, in particular charters.

One of the issues Jarrett explores, and which he believes to be a major source of confusion, is the relationship between Hispani and aprisio. He provides considerable evidence demonstrating why he believes that previous studies, including Chandler’s, have wrongly attributed rights and immunities granted to Hispani as also applying to aprisio. (324) He states that, “The Constitutio pro hispanis and the earliest grants to Hispani do indeed represent a fairly consistent set of exemptions and requirements . . . It was not however general to all land held by aprisio . . .” (327-8) In other words, the Carolingians did provide favorable treatment to the Hispani, but this cannot be applied to aprisio as a whole. An additional argument against this connection is that not all aprisio holders were Hispani. The Church and indigent landholders also received aprisio grants. (339-41)

In arguing against aprisio always including privileges beyond the grant of land (remember that when I say “grant” this means they held the land in the name of whoever gave them the grant, they didn’t own it – though they could frequently transfer the property) Jarrett explores several aprisio grants which did not confer additional privileges and returns to his argument that these immunities applied to the Hispani and not aprisiones. (327-329) 7

Jarrett argues against Chandler’s proposal that a major purpose of the aprisio was to “establish a military counterweight, in the form of an armed yeomanry, that might check the independence of the counts whom the kings appointed to this distant frontier.” (322-3) Jarrett concedes that “The basic premise here is convincing . . .” (323) however ultimately he believes that this is inconsistent with normal Carolingian strategy which focused on influencing and controlling the powerful, not a weaker group such as individual holders of land. (331) I will return to this in more detail below. 8

His counter to the idea that aprisio grants exclusively originated with the king is very simple. He gives several examples where counts granted the privilege (336) and indicates that frequently the privilege might be claimed without them. “Such instances [of royal or comital grants], however, are outweighed to negligibility by the sheer volume of references to aprisio which have nothing to do with kings or counts.” (337)

As this is an area I’m relatively unfamiliar with, it’s difficult for me to pick apart arguments, or to really evaluate the quality of Jarrett’s article, except for appreciating the detail and acknowledging the extensive use he makes of sources. However there are a couple of exceptions to my ignorance.

One is related to the Visigothic thirty-year rule. This rule is not unique to the Visigoths and may be found in accounts of disputes in various regions. Basically, if someone held land for 30 years, their possession of it could not be challenged (this is a bit simplistic – there are exceptions to this but it’ll do for this discussion). It appears to have originated in Roman Vulgar Law. 9 Related to this, there has been a belief among historians that aprisio holders could not defend their landholding rights until the thirty years had passed. Dr. Jarrett relates how this came about, originally based on an 812 case where a group of settlers appealed to Charlemagne that their aprisio rights were not being respected by the local counts. (326). Their grant dated from 780 and in addition to the language of the grant, they invoked the thirty-year rule as well. This does seem to be an odd thing for historians to believe. There are plenty of examples among the Franks, Lombards and Visigoths of the thirty-year rule being used in land disputes, and plenty of disputes where it was not. The aprisio holders certainly cannot have been left to fend for themselves without recourse to challenging an infringement of their property rights for 30 years. If Charlemagne really wanted to grant them land, that seems a strange way to do it – giving a charter without it meaning much for thirty years. In a dispute, both sides will throw the kitchen sink at each other. The use of the thirty-year rule in this case certainly seems to have been no more than additional ammunition in defense of their rights, not something which they would have been defenseless without.

In the opening of this article Jarrett highlights Cullen Chandler’s 2002 EME article (see note 3) and you could be left with the impression that his article is written as essentially a counter-argument and that the bulk of the criticism is directed toward Dr. Chandler. This is untrue. While Chandler may have provided, at least in part, the motivation for this article, several of the items Dr. Jarrett takes issue with, such as that they only originated from Carolingian Kings, are not positions Chandler takes. I also think it’s important to note that the period Chandler’s article addresses ends in 897 while Jarrett continues the discussion into the tenth. However there are some significant areas where Jarrett disagrees with Chandler and I’d like to explore two of these.

One of these is related to how aprisio immunities may have paralleled or even been related to those granted to religious entities. Chandler draws substantial parallels between the two. Jarrett believes that this is overstated and a tendency to apply Hispani privileges to all aprisione grants is partially the reason. 10 However the area I’d like to discuss is this: Chandler discusses an aprisio grant of 847 of Charles the Bald to Alfonso, Gomesindus and Duranus. This grant mentions only a right of proprietorship and no other privileges or rights of royal protection. Chandler states, “This may be because it is the latest new Carolingian aprisio grant, and the terms and conditions of such grants were well established by then. This simplified language, referring only to jure properietario, surfaces also in the 849 confirmation of Teudefred’s aprisio inheritance. Charles the Bald did not need to explain what the aprisio rights and privileges were in great detail largely because of the generations of precedent that his father and grandfather had established.” (Chandler, 2002, p 35)

Chandler believes that the rights and privileges of aprisio grants had become so customary, so well known, that they no longer needed to be included in the language of the grants. Jarrett has some problems with this argument, as do I. Jarrett’s argument has several aspects. First and, to me, most important, is that immunities granted to religious institutions continued to be fully stated. (327) This seems to be a matter of simple logic. If putting everything in writing became less important for aprisio grants, wouldn’t it be expected to carry over to other areas? Jarrett also believes this may be an error caused by a tendency to see aprisio in grants to Hispani which are not aprisio.

However Dr. Jarrett does provide some support to Dr. Chandler in a discussion of 10th century grants. “The word aprisio is used so widely, however, that it obviously had a meaning that was fairly well understood, and a few charters make it clear that there was a more systematic and even legalistic idea of what the claim involved than the simple clearance envisaged in the royal documents.” (335) This doesn’t exactly say that there were commonly recognized but unwritten rights associated with aprisio but it comes awful close. NOTE: See Dr. Jarrett’s comment below – I misread the intent of this statement.

I believe the argument that if aprisio grants were meant to carry unwritten privileges then other grants of immunity would likewise show a lack of specificity in their language is a sound one. There is a second question that came to mind for me as I read this. In later disputes concerning aprisio land, did a) those holding land by aprisio mention these unwritten privileges and b) were these privileges recognized in the proceedings? I don’t know the answer to this and certainly a dispute taking place in, say, 890 can’t tell us much about Charles the Bald’s intentions when he stopped referring to privileges in these grants in 847, but it would add some weight to the “customary but unwritten privilege” argument.

The final area I would like to explore is by returning to the disagreement between Jarrett and Chandler about whether the aprisio grant “was created and used by the Frankish kings to establish a military counterweight, in the form of an armed yeomanry, that might check the independence of the counts whom the kings appointed to this distant frontier.” (321-2)

I’ll mention a couple of things on this. First, this is a bit of an oversimplification of Chandler’s argument. He believes aprisio was, at least in part, introduced as a way to reduce, or at least counter, the power of distant marcher counts (or if it wasn’t introduced for this purpose, the Carolingians quickly recognized the potential benefits). The fact that aprisiones were to give military service to the king, not the local count, is an aspect of this power reduction, but far from the whole of it. In addition, Chandler argues that their appealing directly to the king, rather than to the count for justice, and that statements in the grants saying they would only hold their lands so long as they were faithful to the Carolingians are also aspects of this. 11

This is not unpersuasive, if relatively unprovable. Put more correctly, I think it’s a reasonable, though certainly contestable, interpretation of the evidence (what can you actually “prove” in history anyway?). One problem with the theory is that aprisiones were generally given the right to sell their property. It would still ultimately belong to the king, but would have another landholder. If countering comital power was a major concern, then it would seem that allowing the alienation of land to either an ally of the local count or the count himself might have been restricted.

For my money, I think it very possible that Charlemagne and his successors saw this as a way of maintaining their influence in the marcher lands, as Chandler proposes. I question how much impact it would have had though. A belligerent count could create much more trouble for a landholder than the king over 600 miles (a thousand kilometers) away, no matter who he held his land from. I have a feeling most Hispani and aprisiones likely paid more attention to the local guy who had armed forces at his call, may have controlled the local mill, etc., than to a distant king. To me the military force aspect would have been less important as a check than the appeal to justice since in that case a king could basically overrule a count about something taking place in his back yard and would also find out much more quickly if local authorities were getting out of hand.

I’d like to propose an interpretation of my own for this. At the time of the first aprisio grant, Charlemagne had just finished a failed invasion of Muslim Spain. Clearly he did not achieve all of his objectives and I don’t think it’s a stretch to conjecture that he at least had thoughts of going back. The aprisio grants – as well as the grants to Hispani – would have provided him with a force located close to his target which he could call up for military service without requiring them to attend the mallus. This is pretty much opinion on my part without any basis in the evidence (that I’m aware of) but it seems like it might be an option.

To return to Jarrett’s paper as a whole, I enjoyed it – and it forced me to read Cullen Chandler’s 2002 article which I also enjoyed. Composing this post was not quite as enjoyable, simply because I’m posting from an even greater degree of ignorance than I’m accustomed to. I found Jarrett’s article very persuasive. It seems like we’re constantly, on closer examination, finding that almost any medieval institution is not as simple as we had believed. The thought that there might be considerable variability in different aprisio grants not only seems logical, but it appeals to me. I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite books is Chris Wickham’s Framing the Early Middle Ages: Europe and the Mediterranean, 400-800 (Oxford, 2005). If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this book, it’s not to generalize. Instead, closely examine items individually and only then, if the evidence fits, can things be grouped together and generalizations applied. While aprisio grants share a name, I’m very willing to accept that their characteristics might change over time, or even depending on the recipient. Although it’s apparent that the grant might well contain some privileges, it appears that quite often it did not, or that these privileges were not uniform, and Jarret’s article has persuaded me that, “Aprisio was one of these practices, an interesting and illustrative one, but in final analysis, mainly a word for a wider phenomenon of ground-level clearance and settlement, in which context it has to be understood.” (342) 12

1 Jarrett, Jonathan, ‘Settling the kings’ lands: aprisio in perspective,’ Early Medieval Europe 18 (2010), pp. 320-342.

2 This is where Google and Blogger and the Internet get in the way. I wanted to title this post: “Northward Ho! A Carolingian Homestead System”. But not mentioning aprisio in the title would have been bad – and including the word “ho” for search engines to pick up would have been worse.

3 Chandler, Cullen J., ‘Between court and counts: Carolingian Catalonia and the aprisio grant, 778-897,’ Early Medieval Europe 11 (2002), pp. 19-44.

4 I’m not sure if this even matters but I want to mention that at the time he wrote his 2002 article, Cullen Chandler was not yet Dr. Chandler but a Phd. candidate. I have no idea what the protocol is for this – maybe by even mentioning it I’m screwing up. I know that advanced doctoral students will – and in this case certainly did – provide quality work. The only thing I can go by is consistency. I tried to include education levels and affiliation in my Kalamazoo session write-ups so I wanted to include it here, somewhere, but hopefully without in any way inferring that Chandler wrote anything but a quality article, or that he should be judged any differently from any other author.

5 The detail with which Dr. Jarrett explores the evidence and my own propensity toward over-writing combined to create a slightly ludicrous situation. My initial foray resulted in a post of 532 words – at which time I had only gotten to the 4th page of the article. This edition is, I hope, a bit saner, though it’s still my longest blog post to date. My goal is to discuss some things of interest and encourage people to read EME, not recreate the entire article in Geekish.

6 Hispani is a term used by Carolingians for residents of Spain who fled Muslim territories to live under Carolingian rule. It has been explained that often these were people who supported the Carolingians during the invasion and, once it was beaten back, found the concept of remaining under Muslim rule untenable. NOTE: See Jonathan Jarrett’s comment below regarding the correct use of the term Hispani.

7 Once I got into the details of the charter evidence I nearly decided not to post this article. I am completely unfamiliar with this evidence and am unable to comment on it other than to state that Jarrett footnotes extensively, in particular referring to R. d’Abdadal i de Vinyals (ed.), Catalunya Carolingia Vol. II: els diplomes carolingis a Catalunya, 2 vols (Barcelona, 1926-52). In fact, if Dr. Chandler had not responded to my Carolingian Lay Literacy post, I may not have written this at all. However this seemed like a good way to start an interesting discussion and, from a selfish perspective, I have a feeling I may learn a lot from these two gentlemen and hopefully others will as well. And I should note that Chandler’s 2002 article also uses sources extensively, though his interpretation of some of them are different.

8 This is a major theme of Dr. Chandler’s 2002 EME article and one I really would like to give more time to. Chandler offers a summary of his argument for this on pages 22-24 and also in his conclusion (43-44) but touches on it throughout.

9 See Davies, Wendy and Fouracre, Paul, eds., The Settlement of Disputes in Early Medieval Europe, (Cambridge, 1986) ISBN: 978-0521428958, p. 275. The thirty-year rule is also discussed in several cases in this book, in particular in; “Dispute Settlement in Carolingian West Francia,” by Janet L. Nelson, pp. 49-51 and; “Land disputes and their social framework in Lombard-Carolingian Italy, 700-900,” by Chris Wickham, pp. 110-111.

10 See Chandler (2002), p. 26, “Not only do grants of aprisiones to Hispani chronologically and geographically coincide with grants of immunity to monasteries, but aprisio grants also contained immunities that paralleled those contained in the diplomata issued to monasteries.”

11 In Chandler (2002) for discussion on; appealing directly to the king for justice, see pp. 22-3 and p. 27; military service owed to the king, see p. 25; statement that they will retain their grant only so long as they remain faithful to the Carolingians, see p. 30.

12 Even with the length of this post, I haven’t completely covered this article. Dr. Jarrett also includes a substantial discussion of what aprisio, even with the inconsistencies he attributes to it, can teach us about patterns of land settlement. I haven’t touched on this here, though it’s one of the most informative sections of the article. Again, I encourage people to read the full article, as well as Dr. Chandler’s.


Posted by on August 8, 2010 in Society and Social Structure


Tags: , , , , , , ,

15 responses to “A Medieval Land Settlement Program – the Carolingian Aprisio Revisited

  1. Jonathan Jarrett

    August 8, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Curt, thankyou for such a detailed write-up! I should probably make the background clear. I wrote the first version of this paper in 2003, before I'd ever met Cullen. It was basically only an attack on his paper then, but that was pointed out by editors and when I finally submitted it, in 2007, it was more as you see it now. The final revisions, which were done in, er, April 2009, took more of the sting out and broadened the attack still further, as by then I'd decided that basically everyone was wrong but me :-) Now, I first met Cullen three months later, at Leeds 2009, so the article was well into the pipeline then and beyond further change. I warned him it existed as soon as we were introduced, because I couldn't leave him to find out any other way. That was when we agreed on amiable dispute, but until it hit the Internet, he still hadn't seen this paper, so may well not want to stand by that now…As to your actual write-up, I don't want to be too pedantic than I was in the paper, but…Jarrett concedes that "The basic premise here is convincing . . ." (323) however ultimately he believes that this is inconsistent with normal Carolingian strategy which focused on influencing and controlling the powerful, not a weaker group such as individual holders of land. (331)If you have another look, I hope it's clear that I'm arguing for change over time here. I think that, as the quote you have there suggests, Cullen's probably mostly right for Charlemagne and maybe even early Louis the Pious. It's just that that policy isn't continued much beyond the 830s, as I see it, except around the city of Barcelona which is a special case.(Continues: I appear to have a lot to say about this…)

  2. Jonathan Jarrett

    August 8, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    (Continuing…)Next, Hispani is a problem term. You're quite right that: "Hispani is a term used by Carolingians for residents of Spain who fled Muslim territories to live under Carolingian rule." However, it's also the word used for any inhabitant of al-Andalus whom for some reason couldn't be qualified as Goth, 'Chaldæan' or Hebrew, and the whole of al-Andalus was referred to as Hispania. So I think it might best be blanket-defined as "someone of Andalusi origin" and then special cases specified as needed. This is certainly one of those cases, of course.Penultimately, when you pull me up for this:"The word aprisio is used so widely, however, that it obviously had a meaning that was fairly well understood, and a few charters make it clear that there was a more systematic and even legalistic idea of what the claim involved than the simple clearance envisaged in the royal documents." (335) This doesn't exactly say that there were unwritten rights associated with aprisio but it comes awful close.I maybe haven't linked this up clearly enough, but what I think was the legalistic idea behind the word was the idea that waste land was royal. I don't think there were any unwritten rights that came out of that, though, apart from an ability to ignore older claims to the land. At least, I don't think property held this way had any special unwritten rights that other sorts of property didn't have, which is a different matter…Lastly, when you say:I'd like to propose an interpretation of my own for this…. The aprisio grants – as well as the grants to Hispani – would have provided [Charlemagne] with a force located close to his target which he could call up for military service without requiring them to attend the mallus. This is pretty much opinion on my part without any basis in the evidence (that I'm aware of) but it seems like it might be an option.You might be surprised how defensible a case could be made for that. There are still very occasional royal vassals showing up in the documents as late as the 950s, or at least children of people who held land by royal precept. There's a major revolt against one set of counts in 957 which is held to have been touched off by their dispossession of people who had held their land from the king. So I think people like this definitely existed, and that their situation was probably as you describe. I just don't think that's got anything to do with aprisio; these are the Hispani!

  3. Medieval History Geek

    August 8, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Thanks for the comments Jonathan. Definitely the most work I had to do for a blog post – and I've looked it over three times now and found once each where I misquoted you and Dr. Chandler and several points of vagueness in my terminology which I'm trying to clean up.I can't help feeling as if I've been a sort of vampire with this post – sucking the life out of what should be an interesting topic. I hope it doesn't come across that way but on reviewing it, the way I put things seems kind of tedious a fair amount of the time.I'm glad you clarified the quote on page 335 – I think I had locked my brain in somewhere else when I read that (or at least when I thought of whether to include it in the post). Clearly you refer to something of a reset of land tenure further along in the paragraph. And I'm sorry I didn't cover the sections where you discuss patterns of land settlement, pages 337-41. In a lot of ways this was as interesting as anything in the article to me, but this thing had already gotten long enough.Like most folks, I have several things sitting in draft and one of those will be an amateur tip cautioning folks not to look for the simple answer – it's kind of reflected in part of my final paragraph. I may incorporate some of your settlement observations into it, if I ever get it to the point where I feel comfortable posting it.

  4. Cullen Chandler

    August 9, 2010 at 2:27 am

    Hey, fellas!I've now got to go and re-read my 2002 article to see what it was I actually said, then finish Jonathan's to see all that he says. So, I don't want to say much now, …BUT: To a point, I think we can both be right on various parts of the arguments. Scholarship is not a zero-sum game or head-to-head competition. Those who treat it as such may well reach some level of reputation, but at the cost of not incorporating the insights of others and thereby missing some bits of the picture.My main argument, as I recall it, is that aprisio as a term first appears in royal documents. The first diploma that I saw, although not the oldest one, dealt with a group of men referred to as hispani. This was the decision by Charlemagne in 812 to uphold their rights at the expense of the local counts, who were found guilty of violating the hispani's rights to proprietorship of the granted land. Royal grant had become private property after 30 years. This is not to say that the hispani involved could not have appealed to the king before then, because the grants seem to have come with various privileges; it is merely to say that the land had become theirs by 812, and it seems the counts were treating it otherwise.Later, perhaps I overstated a point, or perhaps a disconnect arose in reader reception. I don't think I claimed that kings and counts and everybody else kept defending these rights up to 897. When I pointed to evidence in documents that showed recognition of aprisiones, or people falling into line as others did, it shows that contemporary folks saw something special in aprisio land. Why else draw attention to it in the documents?To be continued…

  5. Cullen Chandler

    August 9, 2010 at 2:43 am

    I'll concede the bit on aprisiones beign so widely recognized that documents stopped delineating the rights. The parallel to ecclesiastical immunities is pretty strong. But, and correct me here if I'm wrong, could it not be argued that there's a difference in document production? That is, ecclesiastical immunities were drawn up in the royal chancery, whereas the other documents Jonathan uses were not. And that the royal clerks would be more likely to use formulae for the purpose, while folks in the late 9th and 10th centuries on the March itself would not follow those royal formulae? Beyond that, I'm willing to concede, but I'd like to think and discuss more on that. If I'm wrong, fine. As you point out, "Mr. Geek", that was Grad-Student Me trying to make sense of a confusing situation. The more experienced Professor Me might not draw the same conclusion. Depending on how the formula issue plays out :-)So, as long as one recognizes that I saw an angle nobody had considered before–that royal authority did have something to do with the privileges granted to hispani and aprisio guys (like that fellow John who received some aprisio land in 795). If Jonathan, in a follow-up to his EME-prize-winning article, notes that this point of my EME-prize-winning article is valid, then the main thesis of my article is upheld, even by its principle critic. I'll take that. If Jonathan wishes to highlight smaller points and then claim that "everybody [including, or especially me] has it ALL wrong", well, there we have an issue. And one could read his article and interpret it as directed wholly against my work, given the frequency with which he uses my name in the main text. As you mention, Curt, it can't be that way at all, since not only our perspectives but our chronology differ. Jonathan has much more sense than to take 10th-century documents as evidence of 8th- or 9th-century ideas or practice. But I'll take it as a feather in my cap that something I wrote inspired another scholar to undertake further research and writing in order to issue a rejoinder.That will have to be it for now. I'll go and read both papers and maybe post back. I'll at least follow this with great interest to see if a discussion gets going.

  6. Medieval History Geek

    August 10, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    I messed that up. In reading Dr. Chandler's last comment I, through no fault of his, was afraid he felt that my original post was unfair and I pulled this. That was a very wrong move – first, he did not feel that way and I misinterpreted his legitimate, justifiable passion for his work to be a criticism of me that did not exist. Second, for those who may have seen this post for the few hours it existed Sunday, it could be inferred that I didn't trust one or both of them to carry on an enthusiastic conversation in a professional manner. Nothing could be further from the truth and if anyone saw the post originally and that thought crossed your mind, it never crossed mine. I have a great deal of respect for both of these men, both as people and scholars. I absolutely know they will have no trouble carrying on this sort of discussion.I will mention that the post is absolutely unbalanced – I devote far more time to Jonathan's argument than Dr. Chandler's. That is the nature of reviewing one article rather than doing a review article intended to cover both equally. I was very relieved when Dr. Chandler assured me that he did not view it as also unfair.This does not mean that Dr. Chandler won't find errors in my post as he reviews his and Jonathan's articles and I hope he will point these out. Mistakes were not my concern (though they certainly need correcting when found), fairness was.Again, publicly this time, I apologize to Dr. Chandler and Dr. Jarrett. I should never have removed this post. The above post is as it was Sunday night. For those of you on Blogger, I used "Save to Draft" which retained the complete post, including the posted comments. I have made no edits to it since that time. I won't promise that I won't find some issues with vagueness of language or additional typos that I'll correct.I look forward to an excellent discussion. And thank you to both of you for your understanding and patience as I had a phase of something which I'm afraid might be able to be considered cowardice. I should have waited to discuss this with Dr. Chandler rather than remove the post so quickly. I will try to do better in the future.

  7. Medieval History Geek

    August 10, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    I'm going to add one final comment before stepping aside in favor of Chandler and Jonathan. For me one of the most fascinating – and enjoyable – aspects of history is when two well-read, informed individuals examine the same evidence and reach entirely different conclusions. I mention this at the very end of my post on Peter Heather's Empires and Barbarians.At some point I hope to really dive into the way Peter Heather, Guy Halsall and Walter Goffart examine and utilize the same 4th and 5th century evidence to reach entirely different conclusions. I've told others so I may as well say it here – those guys can get me waffling. I'll read Heather and he seems very persuasive, then I'll read Halsall and he'll be very persuasive. Fortunately, I'm pretty familiar with and have or have access to most of the sources they use so I'm better situated to really look into that than with the subject at hand here.Of course as an amateur I'm not being paid to examine evidence and reach a conclusion based on it. However I enjoy the fact that this is a field where that kind of outcome variability is acceptable. I don't know for sure that this will happen here, but I think it's a possibility, at least for portions of the subject.

  8. Jonathan Jarrett

    August 10, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    It seems unfair to leap in before Cullen's had time to read, specially since I think that the tail of the article is the one that most people who are not him or me will get the most out of. But there is one point he's made here already that I can address, at least a bit.That is, ecclesiastical immunities were drawn up in the royal chancery, whereas the other documents Jonathan uses were not.Well, yes, but the problem is one that you already noted without using the documents I bury into in the second half of the article, and I deal with the royal stuff fairly thoroughly first.And that the royal clerks would be more likely to use formulae for the purpose, while folks in the late 9th and 10th centuries on the March itself would not follow those royal formulae?You will see that towards the end I do concede that we're reasoning from quite different sources, but you will also know, Cullen, that the tenth-century documents are no less formulaic than the substantially-royal early preservation! They are using different formulas, of course, but 'sicut ceteri Spani' and 'primi homines in terra regia sub ditione francorum' are definitely in the same bag of reference. However, such phrases are also very rare. And, furthermore, even the royal clerks of the early period say that aprisio is a word the settlers themselves use ('portiones quem vocant adprisiones'), and don't appear to have a legal definition of it. So I'm not sure we have much of a formulaic usage at any point here, at least not for aprisio (as opposed to privileges of the Hispani).

  9. Cullen Chandler

    August 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Oh, dang.I typed up a fairly substantive post here a couple of days ago, but it does not appear. I must have clicked the wrong thing somehow. And now I can't remember all of what I said!Anyway, I'm still waiting on my copy to arrive and meanwhile moving on to prepare for teaching. But let me say for now, to Curt, that you can find some atlases of Carolingian Catalonia at Purdue, in the HSSE library. For some reason, they acquired those volumes at precisely the same time I was working on my dissertation! Be warned, they are in Catalan, but that shouldn't be too much of an obstacle for you to get something out of them.

  10. Medieval History Geek

    August 13, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Unfortunate. I know sometimes blogger screws things up. Also, I believe (it doesn't make me do it) there's a word verification to post. I didn't have that up originally until I started receiving a bunch of spam comments in early May – the word verification's supposed to be one way to deal with that.

  11. Cullen Chandlert

    August 16, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Just quickly–I need to get to work, and this broken finger makes it difficult to type:I recall that one of the things I typed before was an apology for using the phrase "Mr. Geek" in my earlier post. I can see how that could come across as an angry attempt to put someone in his place, which most certainly was not my intent. I think I had temporarily forgotten that you use your name on your blog and didn't want to use a 'real' ID. Or something. My apologies.Once the dang issue reaches my mailbox, I'll certainly set aside time to read it and come back here. So keep a watchful eye!

  12. Medieval History Geek

    August 16, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    No worries – I misinterpreted things in large part because of my unease in devoting this level of detail to an area – the study of charters – which I'm not really qualified to comment on. I wasn't positive I should have posted it in the first place for that reason. That unease is my problem, not yours. I'm working on it. ;)As for timing – new semester, new students and advisees (you may even have a new course) – I understand perfectly where you're coming from. If the discussion between you and Jonathan doesn't really get rolling until a month or more down the road when the initial rush eases off I'll likely throw up a new post pointing that out and mentioning that folks might want to take a look.

  13. Cullen Chandler

    June 7, 2011 at 1:57 am

    Well, hello!Many months later… almost a year, actually, and I'm up for rejoining the conversation. I left my copies of EME in the office, but I noted some things on various pages. If it's ok with you, our gracious host, I'll comb through my notes and make a series of comments here. Jonathan can rebut as necessary.On the whole, though, I'll stick with my broader point that I'm not wrong. If Jon will give me points for Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, then I'll fold my hand and take home what I've got up to that point. I'll concede him the later point about aprisio rights no longer being articulated because everybody knew what they were. I just think it's taking things a bit too far to mention my name over a dozen times in the text and in the notes–in an article that's not all about me–and end up giving readers the impression that one person's reading of locally-produced documents of the tenth century can invalidate another person's reading of royally-produced documents of the ninth. But this apples vs oranges argument is precisely how Jonathan's paper reads, at least to me and a couple of other people who have seen it and spoken to me about it.For Charles the Bald, etc., I believe my argument (again, I'll get back to my notes on both papers and return) was that the general notion of rights given to people was upheld and that the word aprisio designated a particular type of settlement by the late ninth century. We can even see the 'expansion' of these rights, not in the royal granting of more aprisiones, but by the bestowal of similar privileges to other groups of people. The period of comital aprisiones is something of which I am aware but which did not concern my 2002 paper. That the circumstances were different then is to be expected, given that things don't tend to stay the same for 150 years, but it doesn't mean that earlier kings can't have used the aprisio as a tool in the way I suggest.OK, that seems plenty for now. More than I had intended, in fact. I'll return with more specific points, cited by page number, in a little while. In the meantime, I have a new book on frontier Catalonia to review… ;-)

  14. Medieval History Geek

    June 7, 2011 at 4:14 am

    Sounds good Cullen – I look forward to the conversation. I'm sure I'll learn something and hopefully a few other people will too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: